MDG 2: Achieving Universal Primary Education

Marshalls:

Providing schools for the children of Indian migrant workers

Hard landscaping plc Marshalls is actively working in India to provide children of migrant quarry workers with the opportunity to get an education. The first company in the hard landscaping industry to belong to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), Marshalls is committed to adopting the ETI Base Code, which includes the principles that child labour should not be used, noone should be forced to work and working conditions should be safe and healthy.
Together with a local NGO partner in Kota, India, Marshalls set about providing practical assistance in the form of free schools for children who would otherwise have no opportunity to get even a basic education. Since funding the first school in 2006, the company now fully funds six schools which are open to the children of all quarry workers in the locality regardless of whether their parents work with Marshalls’s sole supplier in India.
For parents, these schools address the problem of not having money to pay for education and the dearth of care facilities for their children while they are at work. Importantly, for the children themselves these schools offer access to education, a right which under Indian law is lost when families migrate in search of work. With approximately 50 children being educated in each school every year, Marshalls is making a huge contribution to reducing the illiteracy rate of around 85% in these quarry areas in India.
Working in partnership with the local NGO, Marshalls continues to expand its programme of fully funding schools, alongside funding health camps in the heart of the quarrying area. A rigorous monthly reporting process is in place with the NGO and a Marshalls funded full-time local social auditor.

As well as the positive impact on individual families and the wider community, Marshalls is clear of the benefits of investing in, and engaging with, the local community. The plc was able to gain competitive advantage and launch ‘Marshalls Fairstone’ to the market in the autumn of 2009. Fairstone is an ethically sourced range of Indian natural sandstone, quarried and produced in line with a set of ethical values and a commitment that Marshalls strongly believes in. Marshalls can confidently say that it actively guards against child labour of any kind, that workers receive living wages and that health and safety practices are firmly in place and regularly monitored.


Aviva:

Street to School

Education as a way out of poverty is a core theme of Aviva’s community investment programme. In 2009, the global insurance service provider announced the launch of Aviva Street to School, a five-year global community programme that aims to get children and young people off the streets and into education and training.

Street to School is already underway in Aviva UK, Turkey and India with the aim of equipping children with the tools to learn and look after themselves. It will gradually be adopted in every country in which the company operates, accounting for 50% of its charitable spend. To deliver Street to School, Aviva is developing long-term partnerships with leading national and international charities and experts, including the Consortium for Street Children and Save the Children (international); Child Rights and You (India); Railway Children (UK); and SHÇEK, the Social Services and Child Protection Agency in Turkey.

Aviva launched its Street to School programme in India in August 2009, working in partnership with CRY (Child Rights and You) and Save the Children India. In India, the aim is to provide education to 50,000 underprivileged children over the next three years, including 20,000 children in its first year.

Aviva employees have a key role to play in the success of Street to School through both fundraising and volunteering opportunities. The company’s 2009 global Employee Promise Survey raised enough funds to open a new street children centre run by Save the Children. More recently, nearly 400 staff took part in a series of sponsored Sleep Outs around the UK to raise awareness of street children issues in the UK. With company matching, approximately £100,000 has been raised by staff for Aviva’s partner Railway Children. In Turkey and India, staff have raised funds through salary donation drives.